It’s taken a couple of weeks, but I’ve finished my first two projects. I’ve really enjoyed this and I’ve learned so much, it doesn’t stop me from feeling frustrated about the imperfections, but I do also need to remember that at this stage I’m self taught! I’ve built up a whole host of questions for my tutor in August so he’d better be ready. By way of a quick update I’ve included some pictures of the completed chairs.
The first project was one of the simple drop-in-seat dining chairs I purchased from an Ebay auction, now with a webbed, horse hair stuffed pad, covered in ‘Kensal Rising’ from St Jude’s Fabrics……
The second project is the ‘pin stuffed pad’ carver, rescued from my parents’ loft – this has been the more challenging project. Now re-upholstered in ‘Bird Garden’ from St Jude’s Fabrics……
I’ve made a start
I’m looking at 5 project chairs, really pleased with the two I’ve started and the skills that I’ve been practising. So far I seem to have got to grips with webbing and using the webbing stretcher, making a hessian base seemed pretty straight forward and creating bridle ties to stop the horse hair stuffing moving about had me closely consulting my ‘upholstery bible’. The upshot is that carver chair has an actual seat now, albeit without the final padding and top material – but I can sit on it and not fall through so that’s got to be good?
It’s not perfect by any means, and I can already see things that I want to improve on, but I’m really pleased with this as a first attempt.
The Ebay dining chairs
These are the ‘drop in seat’ style chairs that I was advised to start with first, and I’m doing these alongside the carver – it’s great practice. I purchased them from a couple who are in the antiques business and we got into a really interesting discussion about local and not so local fairs and markets that will be good for me to scour. They also told me that they often get asked for local upholsterers at these fairs which gave me no end of reassurance that there is a demand for what I’m trying to do.
Advice and inspiration
A subscriber to my blog and friend of a friend, Helga Henry left me some really great comments on my A week of options post. She suggested that I research people who are running businesses that mirror my aspirations, and look at the qualifications they have achieved – giving me a steer on the kind of qualification that might benefit me further down the line. This did a couple of things for me; I discovered The London Chair Collective and their work has given me a huge amount of inspiration. This is exactly the kind of work that I want to be doing, but as well as inspire me it’s also made me a bit impatient – I want to be creating amazing pieces like this now! I have to be careful that I don’t start rushing through my projects in the hope of tackling something that may well be beyond my capabilities at this stage. I also found out the the City and Guilds upholstery qualification is where these people learned their trade. Alas, as with the other qualifications the Midlands seems to be devoid of places to learn, but It’s one for the future so I’ll not write it off as a possibility just yet. Slow and steady wins the race?